The Philippine Onion

Lies and half-truths shall set you free

Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

San Miguel Foods to Sumilao farmers: “cease to exist!”

Posted by commiedyan on December 11, 2007

The management of San Miguel Foods yesterday asked the Department of Agrarian Reform to issue a ‘cease to exist order‘ (CTO) against the farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who have been standing in the way of the company’s grandiose plans to transform all town residents into millionaires by allowing them to market the methane gas from its piggery.

The farmers, who walked for almost two months and 1,700 kilometers from Sumilao to Manila, earlier asked DAR secretary Nasser Pangandaman to issue a ‘cease and desist order‘ (CDO) against San Miguel’s illegal piggery. Last Friday, Pangandaman, asked the parties to submit their respective position papers by Monday so he could finally rule on the matter. We learned that during the farmers’ trek, the DAR secretary was busy picking his nose while counting the lizards on the ceiling that were discussing land reform. Or he could have been dreaming of lechon and dinuguan. Or he was just being cautious about not violationg the human rights of Danding Cojuangco…

So on Human Rights Day yesterday, the farmers, who held that their position and the issues were already well known to the secretary, wanted to humbly comply with the climate changing order. But they were prevented from entering the DAR compound on orders of Pangandaman himself. He would authorize the entry of only the farmers’ lawyers because the farmers were unkempt and he feared violence and that they might not leave etcetera etcetera. But the farmers stood their ground and said they were the claimants and not their lawyers.

There are a few Cebuano words whose meanings cannot be captured in Tagalog or English: Pastilan! Intaon! Lecheng yawa!

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Why gasoline prices might suddenly dive

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by e-kunomista

It’s really fundamentally a supply and demand thing, with the former not rising as fast as the latter. The major sources of demand growth in the past few years have been China and India. The fast pace of growth in China and the even higher growth in energy consumption has in fact made it the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases this year, overtaking the United States.

(We are a bit intrigued by the allusion of the respected economist Ciel Habito to possible price manipulation in the local petroleum market in his latest column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was under his watch in the NEDA that the downstream oil industry was deregulated. Perhaps this is politically motivated).

But oil analysts agree that a big part of demand is speculative, coming from hedge funds trying to find shelter from the falling US$ by buying into commodity futures, minerals, agricultural staple, and oil. In the old days, speculation could be limited by physical storage capacity, but these days what’s influencing prices are futures contracts lodged in code in cyberspace. No need for Mr. and Mrs. Shady to hide oil barrels under the bed.

In normal markets, speculators play a positive role in stabilizing prices because they buy when prices are low and sell when high, thus narrowing the range and reducing volatility. Otherwise they’d lose their underpants if they do the reverse, right? But when a few hedge funds collude, they might be able to keep prices high with their self-fulfilling prophesy. But what feeds speculation are mainly geopolitical and weather-related events. Some researchers say that without the speculative element, prices should be within the $50-60/barrel range. (An earlier body of work of the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz focused on price stabilization and speculation).

The silver lining is that persistently high prices of oil and coal fuels development of cleaner alternatives. But what if oil and coal prices are artificially high because of speculation? What will happen to the alternative energy developers who based their feasibility studies on wrong relative price projections?

Granting that a few players have cornered the futures market, they still take large risks, especially if a spate of good Read the rest of this entry »

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